The new chief adjudicator of the process that oversees compensation claims for former Indian residential school students says he is eager to get started in his new role.

Dan Shapiro, who is a lawyer with the Saskatoon firm Brayford Shapiro, was named as the head of the Independent Assessment Process last week.

As a deputy chief adjudicator for the Indian Residential School Adjudication Secretariat since 2007, Shapiro says he understands the enormity of the role he has taken on but adds he cannot think of a job more necessary.

“One of the things about this work is that there are very few kinds of challenges of this nature, this magnitude, and when you are able to play a role in healing wounds that are basically decades old and working with claimants as they pursue their claims, it’s very hard to think of work more important than this,” he says.

He adds one of his first orders of business will be to deal with the flood of claims that were received just prior to the Sept. 19, 2012 deadline.

Shapiro also says because the IAP has received close to three times more claims than originally anticipated, it will be a number of years before its work is completed.

He officially starts his new job on July 29 replacing outgoing chief adjudicator Dan Ish.

As of May 31, 2013, the Indian Residential School Adjudication Secretariat has received 37,797 applications for compensation under the IAP.

Of these, 21,336 cases have been resolved and close to $2 billion has been paid out in compensation by the federal government.